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Category Archives: Handy Tips

01 
Jul

How Long Will My Extension Take To Build?

One of the most frequently asked questions that we as trusted Bolton builders get asked is, how long will an extension take to build? In many cases the answer is the same as to ‘how long is a piece of string?’ because all projects will differ. Exact timescales can be affected by numerous factors including; complexity of the build, size, single or double story, specific site factors; the intended use, building products chosen etc.Portfolio2-1

However, for an average single-story extension we generally say that you should allow at least 12 weeks from the builders getting onto site to completion. Although some very complex projects can take up to twice as long as this.  However, for an average 12 weeks build we can normally expect the project to following the below stages.

Weeks 1-2

Setting out, footings dug, foundations laid

The builders will arrive on site and the project will begin.

Weeks 3-4

Walls built up to damp-proof course and this installed, drains and floor structure put in place

The final shape and size of your extension will begin to emerge and what may have been bare earth before will become the beginning of your new floor!

Week 5

External walls are built

Both the inner block work and outer brickwork will be completed and cavity wall insulation will be installed.

Weeks 6-7

Internal walls are built and roof made watertight

Now is the time to finalise your choices of windows and doors etc so that these can be ordered.

Week 8

Windows and doors are installed

Your extension is now fully watertight.

Week 9

First fix electrics and plumbing; carpentry started

Now is the time to make final decisions about where you want your utilities, down to the exact position of light switches and plug sockets.

Week 10

Break through from existing house wall, steel installation

This is the time where you might want to consider moving out as the real mess and dust will start to invade your house!

Week 11

Plastering

Once the plastering has been finished it will need to be left to dry out for a few days.

Week 12

Finishing

Second fix electrics and plumbing will be installed, floors will be laid and kitchens etc will be fitted.

Snagging

Sometimes post-build there will need to be a period of snagging to make any changes or rectify any issues that have arisen once you have started to live in your new extension.

For more information about what you can expect when undertaking any building project, contact the friendly builders at Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 1st July 2017
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

22 
May

What To Do Before You Start A Building Project

Hooray! You’ve finally made the decision that the time is right to get that extension built, remodel the kitchen, convert the loft or turn the garage from dumping ground into your dream yoga studio! However in amongst all the excitement of planning wallpaper and how much you are going to love your new space and use it only for throwing elegant soirees (instead of watching TV and eating takeaways!), it is important to properly think through your plans before you even consider starting to put them into action. In many cases it can be a good idea to get an experienced local builder round to look at your space and discuss potential options and what can realistically be achieved – and the friendly Bolton builders of Wisecraft Ltd could be just the people!

Along with this there are some other important steps that you should take now, to ensure that you end up with a dream home and not a nightmare project.

Really think about your design

It may be that you want to engage the services of an architect right from the outset and get them to guide you through the design process. However even if you do choose to go down this route then it is always a good idea to have some concrete thoughts down on paper even before your first meeting. Why not try sitting down and drawing out your proposed space and thinking about how you would really use it and how the flow of the space will work. Getting these details right now will ultimately save you time and money than if you have to start making amends to the project once it is in progress.

Get proper drawings

In many cases it is almost impossible for a builder to be able to provide an accurate quote for the cost and timescale of your project if they don’t have proper, accurate drawings to work from. Depending on the type and extent of your project you may need drawings to get planning permission and building regulations approval anyway. But you will also find that with proper drawings you can see exactly what will be required for your space and plan accordingly.

Sort out the money

Far too many building projects end up being seriously compromised or even abandoned all together as a result of running out of money part way through. So it is important to secure your finances early on, set a budget and then stick to it. Also don’t forget to include a contingency, as even the simplest looking project could end up uncovering something unexpected which could leave you without the funds to finish if you haven’t already planned for the worst.

To discuss any thoughts or ideas you may have about turning your house into your dream home, or even just getting that leaky roof fixed before you find yourself sitting through another winter surrounded by buckets catching the drips, contact the friendly builders at Wisecraft Ltd today – we’re always happy to pop round for a chat – and we only take 17 sugars in our tea!

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Published Date: 22nd May 2017
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

10 
May

How To Live In Your House During Building Works

Obviously the ideal thing to do is to move out (preferably to some form of 5 star tropical beach Loft Conversionresort!) whilst you are having any major renovations or building work down to your house. However this is not always possible. Friends and family may not be lining up to invite you and your 14 dogs to move in or the funds just might not be available to decamp off on holiday or into rented accommodation for the duration of the project. So here are some of our top tips for how to live in your house during building works.

Clear up every day

It may seem like a thankless and pointless task, but clearing up as much as you can at the end of the day will help keep sense or order and calm amongst the chaos. Also keeping on top of the dust and mess will help to stop it spreading quite as badly through the rest of the house.

Contain the mess

As much as possible make sure that you always shut doors behind you as this can make a huge difference in containing all of the inevitable dust and mess. If there are rooms that you don’t need to use then tape the door seals shut to completely banish the dust. Also consider covering furniture that you won’t be using or even just covering it during the day so that you can come home in evening and uncover a clean sofa to sit on.

Don’t let rubbish build up

Going on seemingly endless tip runs may drive you crazy but it is fair easier to deal with rubbish as you go along than having to sort out a giant heap at the end of the project. Try to make sure that you put as much out for recycling and general waste collection on your usual collection days as possible too.

Keep dust sheets clean

This may sound like an oxymoron but regularly washing or at least shaking out dust sheets could make all of the difference between a dust explosion and relative cleanliness.

Plan ahead for day-to-day life

If you are going to be without a usable kitchen or bathroom for some time then it makes sense to plan ahead. Talk to your builders about what they can rig up to help to see you through – everything from a camp kitchen in the living room to a washing machine in the garage could make a huge difference to your standard of living.

For more information about turning your house into the home of your dreams (and how to get through the process of actually getting there!), contact the friendly Bolton builders of Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 10th May 2017
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

14 
Apr

How To Choose A Quote For Your Building Work

So you’ve got your plan in place, the architect has provided detailed drawings of the home of building-imagesyour dreams, you’ve sent these out to numerous builders and building firms and you’ve got at least 3 quotes back. Now how do you go about choosing which one to go for? It may be tempting to just opt for the cheapest price, but is this really always the right decision? Have a look at some of our top tips below for how to choose the right quote for your building work.

Check if it is a quote or an estimate?

A quote is a fixed price so that you know what you are getting for your money, whereas an estimate is basically a guess. A quote can change, but any changes will have to be agreed between you and your builder, whereas an estimate can change at any time and you could easily end up paying more that you originally thought. If you have only been provided with an estimate then it might be a good idea to go back and ask for a proper written quote.

Get professional advice

Once you have said yes to a quote then it is a binding agreement between you and the builder that the works will be completed and the agreed amount will be paid. So if you’re not sure what you’re doing then it might be worth getting some professional and independent advice. Your architect may be able to manage the quoting process for you, or you could commission a quantity surveyor to produce an independent cost assessment which you can use to judge quotes by and could also be useful if it comes to negotiation.

How detailed is the quote?

Check that each part of the building work has been fully itemised, if some parts have generic titles or provisional sums then it is likely that these may change. Also if the quote simply includes a final price then asking for a full breakdown of costs can let you see exactly where the money is being spent and can compare different builders prices for the same work. Also if the quote includes the price of installing tiles for example at £20 per square meter but then you fall in love with tiles that cost £50 per square meter then this could significantly affect the final price. It is also worth carefully checking exactly what is included and what is excluded in the price. If one quote is higher but includes more things then a direct cost comparison would be invalid.

To discuss your dream building project, contact Wisectaft Ltd Bolton today.

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Published Date: 14th April 2017
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

11 
Nov

How To Care For Your Brickwork

Brick has been one of the most popular choices for building for many centuries, even Henry Brick Wall ImageVIII’s Hampton Court Palace is made of gorgeous red bricks, and it is likely that you house is made from brick too. Brick is durable and built to last, but there are some things that can cause damage to your brick work which, if not caught early, can lead to more serious problems such as water ingress or even complete wall collapse. However there are a few simple things that you can do to care for and to maintain your brickwork.

Clean your brickwork

Once a year it is advisable to properly look over your brickwork and clean any areas that are showing obvious dirt. This can be a simple as hosing it down with the spray nozzle on your garden hose, or in some cases it may be necessary to mix one capful of bleach into a gallon of water before using a natural bristle brush to gently scrub off any areas of moss, mould or mildew (this can result from areas of brickwork that do not get much natural light and are close to overhanging vegetation). Ensure that you give the brick a good soaking before applying the bleach solution to avoid the brick absorbing the bleach.

Avoid water damage

Water can damage your brick from two sources. Firstly from rain beating against your brick eventually soaking into the mortar causing the mortar and/or brick to split or crack. Or as a result of rising damp, when the salt crystals left behind after the damp naturally evaporates cause damage to both the mortar and the brick. Once the brick is water damaged, freezing and thawing cycles can quickly cause further damage to the brick, so catching water damage early is essential.

Repointing

If the mortar of your bricks has been damaged it will be necessary to repoint it. This will give your brick work a new lease of life and leave it looking much neater too. When repointing it is essential that all damaged mortar is carefully removed before adding thin layers of new mortar to form a safe and waterproof seal, mortar should be replaced to a depth of at least twice the width of the joint. It is also important to ensure that the new mortar matches to colour and texture of your existing mortar.

To get a free assessment of your brickwork or to employ some of Bolton’s best builders to undertake any repointing or maintenance contact Wisecraft Ltd Bolton Builders today.

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Published Date: 11th November 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

03 
Oct

Top Causes Of A Leaking Roof

There’s no point in spending time and money on the rest of your house if you roof is not doing Bolton Roofing Serviceswhat it’s supposed to be doing and keeping the water out. Starting from the top down is one of the most often used practices in building for a reason – it’s the right way to do things! So a leaky roof is something that you need to get onto and get fixed as soon as possible. But don’t worry, often the causes of roof leaks are surprisingly quick and easy to fix.

Broken or slipped roof tiles or slates

One of the most obvious and most common causes of roof leaks is when the tiles or slates that cover the roof have become damaged or dislodged. Once this happens water can then easily breach the roof and will drain directly into your house causing a leak. Depending on the extent of the damage, this can often be a relatively easy repair, when placed in the hands of the experts, such as those jolly clever Bolton builders of Wisecraft Ltd. Although be warned that the longer you leave it the worse the damage will inevitably get and the more it will cost you to repair.

Underlay failure

Many people don’t actually realise that your roof is made up of more than just tiles or slates. In fact, underneath these is a membrane known as the underlay. In the case of very strong winds it can be possible that rain is forced through any gaps or underneath the tiles. Initially the underlay will collect this water and cause it to travel down towards the guttering, but over time and with continued exposure to water, the underlay may begin to rot which can lead to a leak.

Damaged flashing

Unfortunately flashing is the name of the areas of lead (or other metal) that cover the joins between different areas of your roof, and nothing to do with funky disco lights! If flashing is installed and functioning effectively then it will ensure that water does not seep through any gaps between your tiled areas. However even a small area of damaged flashing can have a surprisingly serious effect, so ensure that you catch the problem soon and that a reputable expert is employed to repair it.

Clogged Gutters

From the ground you may not be able to see if your gutters are full of leaves and moss, but if they are then water may end up pooling at the edge of your roof, rather than running off effectively. As it is stationary, water will naturally find the path of least resistance and may end up working its way into your roof or walls through any small gaps or cracks. However a simple cleaning of your gutters can easily remedy this.

To find out more about ensuring that your roof is in tip top condition, contact the friendly expert builders at Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 3rd October 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips, Roofing


 

20 
Sep

Do You Need An Architect?

For many people the decision to take on a home renovation project can be both exciting, but also a bit daunting. It often represents quite a large financial investment and for those who aren’t in the building trade knowing where to start can be difficult. Add to that the pressure of needing to get it right as it’s not something that can often easily be changed afterwards without a sometimes serious additional cost. So where do you start? Is your project something that can be tackled on your own, or should you employ the services of an architect on top of the costs of your builder etc?

Architects can be employed to help you to design your project (this can be anything from a new build to a simple bathroom redesign) and can then draw up plans from which your builder will work. There is no legal requirement to use an architect on your project, as long as the finished product complies with building regulations, but there are some projects for which it is understood that using an architect can be advisable.

Advantages of employing an architect:

  • If your project requires planning permission they will have knowledge of the exact requirements for your project and can be invaluable in successfully navigating the local planning authority.
  • If you don’t know what you want, architects can help to give you ideas for how to transform your space. They will also plan the design down to the small details, such as which ways doors should open, which you may not think of.
  • Architects are subject to a statutory code of practice and have Professional Indemnity Insurance to protect their clients.

Disadvantages of employing an architect:

  • An architect’s fee can add up to 20% to the cost of a project, which can be out of the question for those on a tight budget.
  • Adding an architect into the mix can sometimes be one extra thing to deal with too far. Negotiating the relationship between your architect, builder and other contractors can sometimes prove more difficult than it needs to be.

However whether or not you employ an architect is up to you. Many people successfully take on comparatively large projects without the services of an architect. If you have a good idea of what you want and have a builder that you trust who has vision, then this could render the additional expense of an architect obsolete. So before you do anything, why not speak to the friendly experts at Wisecraft Ltd Bolton Builders today – we can come and discuss your project and offer a free and no obligation quote. So call us today – we love a chat – and the odd chocolate biscuit!

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Published Date: 20th September 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

01 
Sep

What Are Building Regulations?

You may have heard the term ‘Building Regulations’ on TV property shows, but what does it actually mean and how do these affect you if you are thinking about taking on a building project? Read on and let your friendly Bolton builders at Wisecraft explain all (well nearly all – to explain all would be a somewhat lengthy tomb!).

In essence Building Regulations refer to the minimum standards for the design, construction and alteration to any building. These are standards that are developed by the Government and approved by Parliament and so must be adhered to. Ensuring that any building project complies with Building Regulations is the responsibility of the Buildings Inspector, who will have to inspect and sign off builds at certain stages of their construction.

Building Regulations are regularly updated and create standards that ensure safe and adequate foundations, damp-proofing, overall stability of the building, insulation, ventilation, heating, fire protection and means of escape in case of fire are provided in all buildings. They consist of 14 sections that cover:

  • Structure
  • Fire Safety
  • Site Preparation and Resistance to Contaminants and Moisture
  • Toxic Substances
  • Resistance to the Passage of Sound
  • Ventilation
  • Hygiene
  • Drainage and Waste Disposal
  • Combustion Appliances and Fuel Storage Systems
  • Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact
  • Conservation of Fuel and Power
  • Access to and Use of Buildings
  • Glazing Safety in relation to Impact, Opening and Cleaning
  • Electrical Safety

What happens if you do not comply to Building Regulations? If it is found that your building does not meet the Building Regulations then you will have to make necessary alterations (which in some cases can mean virtually starting from scratch) until it is deemed up to standard by the Buildings Inspector. If this is not done then the building will not be seen as fit for habitation (or whatever other use it has) and you will not be able to get insurance.

So, it pays to make sure that any building project complies with Building Regulations – talk to the experts builders at Wisecraft Ltd today to find out more.

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Published Date: 1st September 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

20 
Aug

How To Increase The Value Of Your Home

Whether you are planning to sell your home or not, increasing its value can only ever seem like Bi Folding Doorsa good idea, especially as for most of us our home is our most expensive asset. There is a certain amount that you can do with soft furnishings to make your home seem more attractive to potential buyers and thus potentially get a slightly better sale price, but when it comes to adding serious monetary value to your home you will need to look to bricks and mortar. So what should you be talking to your favourite local builder (Bolton builder’s called Wisecraft perhaps?!) about when looking to add value to your home?

Add a loft conversion

This is one of the easiest and least disruptive ways of adding serious square footage (and thus value) to your home. According to a survey of 110 estate agents, carried out by mortgage lender GE Money, adding a loft conversion will increase the value of your home by on average 12.5%. In some cases this means spend £20,000 on a loft conversion and increase your home’s value by £40,000 – a no brainer really.

Extend your living space

Increasing the actual amount of living space in your home is guaranteed to increase its value (unless you employ a terrible cowboy builder who does such a bad job that the only option is to knock it down and start again – avoid this by employing the lovely people at Wisecraft!). When planning your extension it is important to get the design right and make it really feel like part of the house, rather than an unloved bolt on. Simple tricks such as knocked through doorways and using the same flooring throughout will help your extension merge seamlessly into the rest of your home. On average an extension will increase the value of your home by 11%.

Concentrate on the kitchen

If you can afford to do only one room, then make it the kitchen. A fantastic new kitchen will add up to 5% to the value of your house, as these are now seen as the true heart of the home, not only do we cook in them but we also watch TV, entertain and just generally live in our modern spacious kitchen areas. Ensure that the work-surface is gorgeous and the design of the kitchen allows easy access between the cooker, sink and fridge and also try and include lots of seating areas.

For more information about how we could increase the value of your home, contact Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 20th August 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips, Loft Conversions


 

12 
May

Insulation Will Keep You Cool In Summer Too

Hooray! The sun has finally got his hat on! And there’s nothing more that the good people of Bolton (and their builders!) love than a bit of warmth. However being British, it only has to hit 20˚C before we all start grumbling that ‘I like it hot, but not this hot’! So what can we do to help to keep our homes cool during the hotter summer months? How about ensuring that your house is properly insulated? When many of us think about insulation, we think about keeping our homes warm and toasty in winter and reducing our energy bills at the same time too. However insulation does not just keep our home warm in winter, but will also help to keep it cool in summer too.

If you think about it, the aim of insulation is to stop heat passing from one side of it to the other. So it follows that if it can stop hot air getting out, it can also stop hot air coming in too. A great way to demonstrate this is to go up into a really well insulated loft in both summer and winter. In winter it should feel really really cold up there. That’s because the insulation is stopping the hot air from escaping from the house. However in summer it should feel hot in the loft, that’s because the insulation is preventing the hot air from getting down into the house.

So, along with getting the lovely chaps from Wisecraft to come along and make sure that your house is super dooper insulated, how else can you keep your home cool in the summer, without resorting to expensive and energy-inefficient air conditioning units?

  • Avoid solar gain – when the sun is beating down on your windows, it will make your rooms hotter. So make sure that you close curtains or blinds in sunny rooms whilst you are out.
  • Circulate cool air – at night when it is naturally cooler, open any ventilation shafts and windows to allow the cool air to circulate naturally around your house. Once the sun comes up in the morning, close the windows again and (if you have taken care of the solar gain) your house will keep cooler for longer.

For more information about fitting high-performance insulation to your home, contact the experts at Wisecraft Ltd today.

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Published Date: 12th May 2016
Category: General, Handy Tips


 

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